Book Review: “Steelstriker” (Skyhunter duology, #2) by Marie Lu

Number of stars: 4 of 5

Genre: Fantasy, Dystopian, Adult & YA

Edition: Hardcover

HOORAY! I didn’t leave a glowing review for book 1, but happily the 2nd book was much better than the first! This is an excellent, if dark adventure story full of family, friends, difficult choices that shouldn’t have to be choices (lesser of 2 evils situations) and high stakes.


I enjoyed Talin’s prominent POV and her inner thoughts. I’m glad Lu didn’t switch back and forth between her POV and Red’s too often (a chapter or two) and by her using this tool of telling the reader what’s going on in both sides of the war from Talin and Red’s perspectives I was able to enjoy a bigger picture and deeper understanding of this fantasy world, what the allies and enemies were up to.


I also appreciated how seamlessly Lu wove the importance of family, love of all kinds and genders, and knowing when to let go of power into this final book. It’s easy for the hero who defeats the big bad guy to simply take his place, right? We’ve read it before. The hero is loved by the masses and steps up to change the world/decide how THEY think said world should be run.


It was refreshing therefore that Talin, at the end of it all, chose to hand back that power and go home. Very understandable, very human, very sweet.
Lots of positivity and hope throughout this book, and something for everyone. I smile when I think of how well Lu wrote her protagonist, with a speech handicap without focusing/drawing the reader’s attention to said handicap over and over again. And Talin certainly was a strong woman regardless of that!


Extra props to Lu for explaining WHY her villain is the way he is too. Always an extra point from me!


My only sour critique: I don’t like repetition.
If you read Book 1, and even at the beginning of Book 2, we all know that big bad Constantine is ill. If Talin had a mind link with him and she was constantly afraid of him finding out what she was thinking, then WHY on Earth would she dwell on that poison in his tea/soup that the Chief Architect was giving him? So many times? “Ah, Constantine is weaker than usual today. I surrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrre hope he doesn’t suspect the poison!” (Next chapter) “Dang, I’m so worried that he’ll suspect the poison! I see it’s working! I hope he won’t pick up on these thoughts of mine and find out!” (Pause for unimpressed slow blink, directed at protagonist). Seriously, girl?
It was mentioned so often that even a speed reader like me picked up on it and found it irritating. C’mon. Can we please move on? Stop thinking of the poison so often? Why are we hearing about this again? I lost count, but it was over 6 times in the last half of the book that Talin’s thoughts strayed to this matter. Too many times, in my opinion. So I could have done without that. It distracted me from the fast, smooth plot pace.

Happy reading!

Rly

Book review: Nice Dragons Finish Last – (Heartstrikers #1) by Rachel Aaron

Number of stars: 4 of 5

Genre: Urban Fantasy, YA, Magic

Edition: Large paperback

Fun urban fantasy! I enjoyed this book, although there were a few times when I felt the characters made too stupid to live decisions… and Julius’ brilliant, conniving dragon plan at the end was a little underwhelming for me personally, compared to the big build up to the plan/scene. (No spoilers. I’m just going to “allude” over here). Not what I was expecting, even though it did work for making peace between his clan and the Sisters.

I’m interested in this world the author has created though, and I enjoy the big cast of siblings that pop in, so I’m going to keep reading to see what happens next.

Happy reading!

-Rlygirl

Book review: Skyhunter – (Skyhunter #1 of a duology) by Marie Lu

Number of stars: 3 of 5

Genre: Dystopian/Assassins/YA/Fantasy

Edition: Hardcover

Ok let me preference this review by saying I admire Lu’s work, so I wish I had more pros to talk about than cons for this series.

I was torn between leaving 2, 2 & a half, or 3 stars for this review, only because this book has just swept the award for Most Maddening of the books I’ve read this year.

Pros:
I loved the cast of characters. Our protagonist Talin is a refugee, mute and not the most beautiful woman you’ve ever set eyes on so that was refreshing!
I loved the fast pace and constant action, and the brilliant way Lu wove in her world building and back stories without hitting “pause” for an info dump. This alone gets its own star in my review and bumped it up past 2 stars.
Lu managed to intrigue me from page 1 (which is the map of the setting/world), showing that this was going to be a story of high stakes and a war that appears already lost. How was Lu going to pull it all together?

Cons:
(Here’s where I might start screaming again and there will be spoiler brackets for those of you who haven’t read the book yet)
1st: Plot holes! I’m tempted to open the book again and count how many times characters said “the ONLY way we can do this or that is…”. The “only” way, when I as the reader, just getting familiar with this world Lu created could see other ways! Sometimes more than one! It was truly maddening. I was screaming at the characters: “No, you idiots, that’s not the ‘only’ way!” For instance, why would you go on a super dangerous mission (view spoiler)
2nd: I know it’s common, but could we please stop the whole unrequited love plot please? Pretty please? Jeran and (view spoiler) obviously love each other, and especially in a world where they could be killed any day, why does the author have to torture them by keeping them apart for the simple sake of building tension? This relationship frustrated me to no end throughout the meat of the book. I wanted to slap both men and it isn’t until the last 15% of the book that (view spoiler) admits – vaguely that is – that he might love Jeran back, but won’t commit to a relationship because Jeran won’t stand up for himself. Their hinted at relationship was sad.
3rd: Ok this is the sick part. Why in the world would the awesomely trained killers and trackers Talin, Jeran and Adena USE RED AS FRIGGIN’ BAIT (view spoiler) when they could have done what other trackers like them could have done and used a map or stealthed their little asses through the woods to get to their destination instead? I don’t get it. The could have all arrived together.
4th, possibly still part of 3rd: Don’t go sightseeing and ooing and aahing at Edison’s dystopian lightbulb etc. at a carnival when your FRIGGIN’ Shield is in trouble, (view spoiler)

Note: Spoiler tags can be viewed on my Goodreads post here https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/4202544879

I plan on reading the sequel, because I still want to know how this story ends. Here’s hoping that book 2 makes a sparkling recovery!

Happy reading!

Rly

Book review: Victories Greater Than Death (Unstoppable #1) by Charlie Jane Anders

Number of stars: 4 of 5

Genre: YA, Sci-fi, LGBTQ+, Space opera

Edition: Hardcover

I’ve been excited to read this one and I was not disappointed!

Wow. Excellent space opera and coming-of-age novel!

There are so many clever creations this author made that makes this book feel fresh, compared to how much sci-fi and space opera I’ve read. I love how quickly yet succinctly Anders describes another alien species for the reader without dropping a page of info dump. I grinned at the third genders and third sides to an argument or war that some of the alien species had.


Overall this is an interesting read of friendship, young romance and high stakes and I highly recommend it.

Thanks for reading!

Rlygirl

Book review: “Supernova” (Renegades #3) by Marissa Meyer

Number of stars: 4 of 5

Genre: YA, dystopian, action, comic book

Edition: Hardcover

I’ve been thinking about this book for a few days… naturally, since it’s the last book of a series and everything (mostly) is now wrapped up.


However, I think I won’t go into what I liked or didn’t like about each character and leave my review short.


I enjoyed the series. It was a fun twist to YA drama and romance and Meyers gets props for creating a huge cast of characters. Even some of the characters that were supposed to be side mentions (like Callum) pleasantly surprised me by getting more of the spotlight.


I would recommend this series.


Only negative comment: the main villain, Mr. bad-ass Uncle Ace Anarchy… unless I missed it in the last few books, we never got to hear WHY he’s the villain? No back story? Just “muh-ha-ha! I’m going to do the same thing I did a decade ago and fight Captain Chromium!” More cackles. It’s just very, very, very, very (keep imagining a string of ‘verys’ that can stretch across your neighborhood block and back) tiresome to read about villains that are evil JUST for the sake of being evil and driving the plot along.

Keep reading! 🙂

Rlygirl

Book review “Archenemies” (Renegades #2) by Marissa Meyer

Number of stars: 4 out of 5

Genre: YA, Superheroes, Sci-Fi, Dystopia

Edition: Hardcover

This book surprised me in a good way, and did not suffer from 2nd book syndrome!

The plot moved quickly. Not too many sluggish descriptions and even though in the story there was downtime for the characters while a few team members of Nova’s patrol recovered from injuries, the characters themselves kept busy learning more about each other and wholeheartedly working on their own agendas.


Nova is an excellent protagonist. Even though I’m getting tired of the trope “fall in love with the hottest guy in the room even though you’re supposed to be his enemy” her attraction to Adrian Everhart feels natural and isn’t shoved in the reader’s face like “they have to be together, so here it is, accept it.”


I appreciate how the reader gets to hear Nova’s inner dialogue as her moral compass is constantly shifting.
Adrian…well I could do without his inner dialogue sometimes, especially his creepy moments when he thinks about Nova. C’mon man… you wanted to leave the gala at the end of the book early JUST so you could hide in your basement room and (view spoiler)? NOT creepy at all…right.


I’m really enjoying this series though, especially as Meyer continues to explore the whole villainous heroes and good villains thread. Nova continues to make good decisions and save lives (view spoiler) and some of the Renegades like Frostbite and her cronies need to answer for their crimes.
I’m looking forward to seeing how the story wraps in the last book!

Full review with spoilers can be found on my Goodreads page as well.

-Rlygirl

Book review: “Roar” (Stormheart #1) by Cora Carmack

Number of stars: 3 of 5

Genre: YA, fantasy

Edition: Paperback

Hum… I teetered between 3 or 4 stars with this one. The mc Roar/Aurora was stifling. And she makes some pretty stupid choices that makes one want to yell at the pages of the book “what are you THINKING!”. That is always annoying as a reader.


I know I was picking up a YA book, but even so I was still surprised when the first chapter kicked off with her being groped by a prince she had just met. And even though she supposedly doesn’t trust anyone, she tropishly fell for him… only to be groped by a different man in the next chapter. That was heavily cheesed, to say the least.


Even the supporting main character Locke was a chore to read. He was interesting when we first meet him in the black market for magic, but it seemed the closer he and Roar got throughout their journey, the more he became a sniveling weakling too.


The redeeming quality to this book is the world building and the whole idea of storms being sentient things with feelings and souls! I loved that. I will read the next book to find out more, but I could care less for the main characters. The side characters like Jinx, Duke and Nova are MUCH more interesting! Nova should have been the main character instead of gag-worthy princess Roar!

Thanks for reading!

Rlygirl

Book review: The Empire of Gold (Daevabad #3) by S.A. Chakraborty

Number of Stars: Solid 5 of 5!

Genre: Fantasy, Adult Fiction, Magic

Edition: Hardcover

I’ve been thinking for 3 days what kind of epic review to write for the end of this epic series, but I decided I’ll just go: Thank you Chakraborty. Thanks for creating the amazing cast of characters that are still living in my head, and your talent in wrangling so many different plot lines safely to the end.


The 3 main protagonists – Nahri, Dara, and Ali – were a joy to read about. They were well rounded, not fluff. They had an arc to their story.


I loved how we got to find out Nahri’s back story and even some of Ali’s super secret family history as well. Dara, while sometimes acting like an anti hero, will always remain my favorite character.


I was a little sad at the ending, at how some of the characters took different paths and choices, but the longer I think about it, the more I think the ending was perfect in its own way.


I will be rereading this series and enjoying the world of Daevabad for years to come.

Rlygirl

Book review: Machinations (Last Resistance #1) by Hayley Stone

Number of Stars: 3 of 5

Genre: Science fiction/Post-apocalyptic/Robots

Edition: Kindle E-book

This book took awhile to get off the ground, clogged with waiting/watching scenes, and that is why I didn’t give it more stars, but it picked up in the last 60% and I really enjoyed the ending!


Rhona is a phenomenal main character. She’s spunky, true to herself, brave, and yet possesses those human emotions like embarrassment, frustration, worry and sadness. She acted very human to me. No different than her original in my opinion, despite what Camus says. I was afraid going into this book that the main story being about a clone would fall flat or being predictable and uber cheesy, but I was pleasantly surprised and engaged with clone Rhona instead.


Stone is a witty writer. If you have qualms about reading about a love-sick clone, uptight military friends surrounding her, and machines out to kill anyone, at LEAST read this book for the one-liners and crass jokes Rhona frequently drops.


I’m going to see how the rest of the series progresses!

Rly girl

Book review: “Slave, Warrior, Queen” by Morgan Rice

Number of Stars: 1 of 5

Genre: Fantasy, YA, Magic

Edition: Audiobook

This is DNF (did not finish) for me.

I enjoyed the story – especially on a long car ride in audiobook, but stopped reading right after Ceres was hired as the prince’s weapon’s master.


There were a few days where she had no where to sleep except his weirdo cabin for a future bride that wasn’t her… and then suddenly the plot changed; she was in a tower in the castle, getting fitted with a fab dress and handmaiden and everything, and there was NO – absolutely – NO explanation about WHY a girl off the streets like herself was suddenly granted the right to live in the palace… such a disconnect. It’s almost like Rice skipped a vital chapter or something?


Just weird. Weird book, weird plot movement, plenty of tropes about fathers leaving, special sword made just for her, falling in love with a prince that could never be her’s, etc. I’m done.

Rlygirl